In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we’ll be sharing tips and gear to help you through your nursing journey. Today we have a few practical words of advice for breastfeeding moms in the trenches:
Ask a professional.
On delivery day, your postpartum nurse may or may not be able to instruct you on proper breastfeeding technique. The good news is that nearly all hospitals now provide a lactation consultant to help you learn the way. Don’t be afraid to ask for yours, and remember to write down the name and number of your consultant in case you have any questions after returning home.
Conquer the latch.
Gently guide baby’s chin down so his mouth is wide open, and bring him to your breast. Make sure his mouth is fully open, and keep in mind that it should cover as much of the areola—the dark part of the nipple—as possible. If the latch is uncomfortable, simply place a finger between your skin and baby’s lips to break suction and start again.
You will want to feed on one side until baby is full and then offer the other breast as a treat. Your little one might not eat on both sides at each feeding, so remember to start with the opposite side the next time. If baby falls asleep easily while nursing, try alternating sides to keep him alert.
Pump it out.
By creating a store of pumped milk, you give yourself a chance for respite and allow others the opportunity to bond with baby too. Before you begin pumping, familiarize yourself with the parts and directions. Whether manual or electric, it is crucial to center the shield over the nipple to avoid pain caused by friction. Find a relaxing environment, set a schedule, and don’t forget to use that nipple cream.
The best way to reduce engorgement is through frequent breastfeeding. Use a pump to remove residual milk, wear a bra that fits snugly but isn’t too tight (which could lead to painful swelling), and apply ice packs to the breasts. A warm shower can also help get your milk flowing and provide a little relief when your breasts are painfully full.
Need more incentive to soldier on?
Breastfed babies …
• tend to have a more diverse palate and enjoy a variety of foods (including veggies!) once they start solids.
• are less likely to develop food allergies.
• have stronger immune systems and decreased risk of childhood cancer.
• are not as likely to develop diabetes, experience appendicitis, have frequent urinary tract infections or suffer from eczema (an itchy skin condition).
• tend to maintain a healthy weight and have a lower risk of becoming obese.
For more encouragement read our article “A breastfeeding survival story.” In addition to being a tale of success, it provides links to resources all over the internet for nursing mothers.